Just a couple of days after Federer claimed his fifth Indian Wells crown, we’ll have another couple of weeks of great tennis here at Miami. The bottom half of the draw looks relatively open, the two top seeds, Raonic and Nishikori, struggling with injuries. The top side seems more intriguing however, sporting names such as Kyrgios, Federer, Wawrinka, Thiem, Zverev, and Del Potro.
In the first quarter is top seed Stanislas Wawrinka, the first time in a while that the top seed hasn’t been a member of the Big Four. The Swiss was granted the number one seed after both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray pulled out of Miami, citing injuries. The two haven’t been playing very well as of late, and the break could help them out as it did with Federer in the Australian Open. Wawrinka could potentially face Alexander Zverev in the round of 16, a clash that would be exciting to say the least.
Elsewhere, Kyrgios and Goffin could do the same. The Australian has been playing some of the best tennis of his career, defeating Djokovic twice in as many tournaments. Goffin has flown under the radar, but he’s a consistent player who can perform in big moments.
Miami hasn’t been Wawrinka’s best tournament, but he defied the past last week at Indian Wells, making it to the final where he lost to Swiss compatriot, Roger Federer. I don’t expect Wawrinka to repeat that surprise. Give me a Kyrgios v Zverev rematch in the quarters.
Prediction: Kyrgios def. Zverev
This is Federer’s quarter, and he’ll be tough to beat as shown in recent months. He could face Juan Martin del Potro in the third round if he defeats young American, Frances Tiafoe. The Argentinian has been extremely unlucky with the draws recently, losing twice to Djokovic and now having to face the most in-form player on the tour.
Thiem could have a rematch with Querrey in the bottom part of the quarter. The Austrian’s grueling schedule could take its toll on his body, but the young Thiem has continued to surprise, pulling out some good results. Querrey most likely will not be able to replicate the incredible form of Acapulco, where he defeated Thiem and Nadal en route to the trophy.
It usually works out better for Federer when I don’t have him winning, so I say fatigue from his win in California and a tough opponent in Del Potro stop him from completing the Sunshine Double.
Prediction: Del Potro def. Thiem
Nadal and Dimitrov could be in for a rematch of their Australian Open semifinal here in Miami as early as the round of 16. Dimitrov suffered an early exit last week to the hands of Jack Sock, but he’ll look to replicate his Australian Open form. Nadal also lost early, Federer dominating his rival with a merciless backhand. Nadal’s stamina is not the same as it once was, and it could come into effect should “Baby Fed” encounter the Spaniard.
Milos Raonic, returning from injury, is lurking below. The Canadian is always dangerous with his booming serve and ground strokes, and it’ll be interesting to see if Raonic can make a successful comeback. He doesn’t have much competition down there, having to face Berdych, who has been struggling as of late. Nishioka could be a sleeper pick after almost defeating Wawrinka last week at Indian Wells.
Prediction: Dimitrov def. Nishioka
Nishikori has a pretty easy draw, but the Japanese is prone to injury, and he wasn’t playing his best tennis in his loss against Jack Sock in California. Last year’s runner up will need to step up his game, but it should be a cakewalk for the Japanese if he performs well. Fernando Verdasco is always dangerous, known for upsetting many of the top dogs. Cilic is in the top part of the quarter, where he could face Cuevas. The Croatian just hasn’t looked the same since his miraculous US Open victory over Nishikori.
Pablo Cuevas and Carreno Busta are on opposite sides of the quarter once again, and it would be quite amusing if those two were to meet up again. The young Spaniard has started to take flight, reaching his first Masters 1000 semifinal in California. Can he repeat his performance here in Miami?
Prediction: Nishikori def. Cuevas
Kyrgios def. Del Potro
Dimitrov def. Nishikori
Kyrgios def. Dimitrov